Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its sixth year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

June 28, 2014

RANDOM MORNING THOUGHTS

REMINDER:  CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE IT FULL SIZED

... erik and i did the farmington-phillips-smalls falls-rangely-coos canyon-rumford loop ... i introduced him to neat places he could take his daughter ... here's rangely lake with the western mountains as a background ... canada is just beyond the distant peaks ...

... a couple of weeks ago chad, my friend and former student, took me to bar harbor to teach me some things about using my super-duper-you-can't-even-see-through-it dark filter ... this is a 120 second exposure of boulder beach ...

... these're the wonderful tracy children, now officially designated "the cool kids gang" ...



... yesterday i took a little wanderabout up to the canadian border ... late in the day for proper lighting, i stopped anyway to snap a nice panorama of the dead river backcountry ...

... here's an impression of my "back yard" ... i'm the four bay windows on the third floor just above the back window of the black car right of center in the foreground ... 

... ocean scientists, amanda and nick ...

... chuck snapped a best-ever picture of my cowlick ... looking at it i can feel ma getting ready to put spit on her fingers for another of her zillion unsuccessful attempts to tame the errant lock of hair ...

... robert, my friend who is a bookseller (okay, some of us do wonder about that title since it seems he takes in far more books than he's willing to part with ... perhaps "book collector and accumulator who also sells books" would more appropriate, but for sure that would add difficulty to doing ad layouts and sales flyers) ...

... and, absolutely, robert's store, "re-books," is more than just books ... at this very moment this cool guy is waiting to be adopted ... if you're interested, just find your way to the concourse parking lot in waterville, re-books is underneath "the children's book cellar," just a few feet from the mexican restaurant ... 

... while waiting for erik i took napped on the patch of grass next to my parking spot ...

... walking back to my apartment, i did a bit of "shoot from the hip" street photography ...

... random thoughts ... what a wonderful summer ...




June 20, 2014

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD

... awhile back adrien and i arranged for an outing on her days off ... earlier this week she called to ask if i'd like to take the cog railway up mount washington ... i agreed, of course, because she's my sweet daughter, in the process neglecting to inform her that i've spent the last forty years deliberately avoiding this experience ... simply, in the early 1970s i was standing at the top of mount washington when i observed the even then ancient steam engine huff and puff and groan as it chugged its way up the flank of the mountain ... as it pulled up to discharge its passengers, many of them white-faced, others covered with coal soot, i inspected the huge iron boiler, the seemingly homemade support structures, and what i thought to be the rather tiny gear that kept the whole contraption from slipping off the track, and i said to myself, "never, not ever, will ride in that disaster-waiting-to-happen" ...

... why didn't i tell her this before she bought the tickets ... because, as i said, she's my sweet daughter ...

... sarah joined us, which is interesting because she's seriously high-places and heights phobic ...

... a drive up through crawford notch and we were there ...


... while we waited for the descending cars to clear the track i confessed my feelings about the cog railway, and it became clear that for sarah this was clearly one of those "confront your fears" sort of things ... interesting, it turns out that they're using diesel engines now ... quiet, fuel efficient (16 gallons of oil vs. a ton of coal), and, a fact that i'm thankful i found out at the end of the day, the machines are "homemade in the shed down the hill" ...

... during the 4,000 foot ascent we enjoyed a spectacular view ...

... we were told it was "okay walk around and to stick our heads out the windows" ... memories of sitting glued to the seat of a big yellow school bus, i was overjoyed ... sarah, however, was comfortable limiting how far she stretched her boundaries ...
 

... as for adrien, well, you know her ... the queen of england could take waving-to-the-peasants lessons from adrien ...

... two-thirds of the way up the mountain the train broke ... while the engineer and brakeman found a fix, adrien taught the little children in the car her "stuck on a train" song ...

... soon, we were on our way ... at this spot the brakeman told us that where he stood at the front of the car was fourteen feet higher than the seat at the other end of the cabin ... a very, very, steep grade, such that walking inside the car was more like climbing a set of stairs ... 

... adrien jumped out and climbed the last 1,000 feet ... (okay, just joking) ...

... i mean, how could she do that when after the engine ran out of fuel she ended up having to jump out of the car and push us all up the last incline ... my dear adrien, what a girl ... !!! ...

... we stood in line braving the 60 mile per hour wind and 30°f temperature so that we could actually climb mount washington, or, as it was, the top fifty feet of the summit ... hard to believe that 15,000 years ago mount washington was submerged beneath a sea of ice, with only the hundred feet or so of the summit that you can see in this photograph exposed ...

... mount washington, by virtue of sticking up over 6,200 feet into the prevailing winds, makes its own weather ... we arrived at the top in clear skies, but within a few minutes the clouds began forming along the west side of the ridge ... the cairns are to guide hikers who find themselves suddenly in fog and mist so thick that visibility is measure in inches ...

... near as i can figure, between "the" and "highest" the word "second" should be inserted, since it seems that a steady gale in an australian cyclone (hurricane) was not so long ago measured at almost 250 miles per hour ...

... in hollywood the rich and famous pay big bucks to get their hair done like this ...

... adrien and sarah, hiding from the wind ...

... the sky cleared ...

... and adrien snapped a shot of me doing my photographer flop ...

... adrien models ma's favorite hat ...

... we traveled with people from all over the world, including a friendly group from ontario ...

... on the ride down sarah began to relax a bit ...

... the brakeman on the left was "teaching" the man in the blue jacket ... it turns out that over twenty years ago the "student" had driven the old steam engine up and down the mountain several thousand times ... now he was working to become certified on the new diesels ...

... "we can stick our hands OUT THE WINDOWS ... yaaaaaaaaa" ....

... "they let us RUN up and down the aisle ... yaaaaaaaa" ....

... "we can HANG OUR HEADS outside in the breeze ... yaaaaaaaaa" ...

... mount washington is a special place, and the cog railway makes it more so ...

... adrien said, "dad, this is your fathers' day present from liz and me" ...

... i am so lucky, so very, very lucky ...


June 17, 2014

A WONDERFUL DAY

... last night i was wicked ill, some sort of intestinal thing i figured was possibly brought about by my not cooking long enough the crab cakes i had for supper ... i awoke early feeling okay, so i hopped atop my trusty bmw and headed for a little wanderabout in the highlands ... after stopping in bingham for some excellent french toast and about a gallon of coffee, i turned off route 201 and began randomly following paved back roads and heavy-duty dirt lanes leading in the direction of moosehead lake ... after a couple of hours i was throughly lost, so i found a high ridge to fix north and then began wandering back to the south ... at one point i found this young moose browsing in a bog alongside the road ...

... while i was watching him a battered suburu pulled up next to me ... gerry said to me, "i'm ninety years old and i've been coming to my camp down the road since i was a little boy ... in all that time this is only the second moose i've seen in this bog" ...

... i asked him why he thought that was, since, for sure, in this part of maine moose are relatively common ... "that bog's got thirty feet of jelly under the surface" ... after he left i got a bit greedy photographically and moved from behind cover to see if i could get a closer vantage ...


... the moose noticed me and decided he'd had enough ... as he charged down towards the treeline he disappeared from sight, as if a giant trap door had suddenly opened up beneath him ... i was stunned, one moment moose, the next just a quiet bog ... then, after about a minute or so, i saw his front legs appear, gradually to be followed by the rest of his body as he climbed out of what i can only assume was a "jelly hole" ...

... i was wishing i hadn't sold my super-duper 100-300mm zoom, but then i realized that if i hadn't the huge lens would've been back in the apartment on my equipment shelf ...

... later in the day i stopped to take a break at the father rasle monument ...


... somewhere within this scene is the exact spot where the english took the jesuit priest's body and mutilated it, ending by ripping out his heart and cutting his body into pieces ... his "crime" was attempting to transcribe the abanaki language into writing so he could introduce the bible to them in their own tongue ...


... despite this, it is a quiet, peaceful place, and the friendly ghosts kept the black flies away as i took a little nap ...


... after i returned home in mid-afternoon i got sick again ... once again recovering, i drove out to east pond, thinking ann would know stuff about fixing me, and, if not, a nice boat ride and swim in the cool water couldn't do any harm ...

... something i've never seen, on the west end of the lake the cormorants had taken over the perches normally occupied by osprey ... rather impressing when you consider their webbed feet aren't really all that suited for doing this sort of balancing act ...


... bella sensed i hadn't been feeling well ...

... as the sun set we met up with bob brooks, bass fisherperson most absolutely extraordinaire ...

... bob and his little boat on the lake are as my trusty bmw f650cs motorcycle and i are on a windy open road—fast, fast, fast ...

... as chuck skippered us back to the cove the loons bid us adieu ...

... i'm feeling better, cross fingers, but even if i wasn't, still, this was a wonderful day ...